It must be the month for technical problems.
I signed up with my current ISP Zip back in the early 1990s, when they were a bunch of mates in Canberra who wanted a gaming network to play on, but ended up running an ISP instead. They were great, they knew their tech, they were well priced, and there was rarely any network downtime. Eventually they changed their name to Zipworld, and the ‘net truly was wonderful.
Many years later, I’m not sure when because the nightmares have blurred my memory, Pacific Internet, a Singapore based telco wanting to get into the Australian market, bought Zipworld and a bunch of other local and backyard ISPs, and rebranded them as Pacific Internet. The quality went down hill from then.
Not a week goes by without some kind of downtime. In one case, back when they had custom overnight unlimited bandwidth accounts, they’d do all their system maintenance right in the middle of the night, instead of running additional boxes for those special accounts. Clueless.
So I ended up for some reason hosting a whole bunch of web sites with them over the years, pouring thousands of dollars each year into their coffers, meanwhile their service and technical expertise was getting worse and worse.
In March 2006, they actually deleted my main email account, the one I’d been using for nearly 15 years, and my personal web space which was hosting my videoblog. Nice work. It took them four days to get it sorted and restore an old backup of the data. Meanwhile all my emails had been bouncing, with me being suspended from various email lists, and a lot of people who needed to get in touch with me about projects I’m working on, unable to do so. I think some of the bounces are still affecting me 4 months later.
Then I went to the U.S. in June for Vloggercon 2006. I was away for 7 days, including travel time, and Pacific Internet for some reason decided to delete my main mailbox again about an hour before my flight was due to leave. I didn’t realise this until I was able to check my email in the U.S. a few days later, and I couldn’t login. Calling them from the U.S. was near impossible, with most people having cell phones which don’t do international, and the few public landlines I found, would be cut off when I got anywhere near Pacific’s switch board.
When I got back and reported the problem, the first client service person I spoke to said:
We have no record of you ever having that email address. I’m sorry, but we cannot help you.
I called back a second time, and was able to speak to someone else who would at least look into the problem. The first allocated tech thought he knew what the problem was, but simply redirected one of my other email addresses to my main one. After finally insisting that I speak to one of the tech managers, they managed to sort out the problem. Meanwhile, any emails to me for the previous 9 days, had bounced, with countless people assuming that I no longer existed. Even my sister was calling to make sure I was OK.
And what would you expect as compensation for being off air for 9 days? Nothing. Not even a “Sorry about that”, or even “Let us know if we can be of any further assistance.”
So that afternoon I made the decision to move. All my sites are developed by me, so moving to a new hosting provider can be pretty time consuming if the hosting environment isn’t right. Over the next two weeks, I moved each of my sites away from Pacific Internet, cancelling each one as I went, and I have a new broadband provider lined up as well, as soon as everything is ready.
Today I called up to cancel the final web site that Pacific Internet have been hosting, and while on the phone to the service guy, it took him, I kid you not, several minutes to look me up in their database, and just when he found it, his computer crashed. Apparently. Today is the last billing day for the month, so it is important that the account be cancelled today. So he offers to call me back when his computer has rebooted, to which I said I’d prefer to wait on, considering I’d already been on hold for 40 minutes. But no, he insisted that he’d call me back in 5 minutes once he’d rebooted. An hour later, no call…
So I called again, spoke to someone else, and managed to get the site cancelled. Pending my broadband connection, I’m now Pacific Internet free, and it feels great. I just feel sorry for all the people I used to recommend them to.
It was tempting to finish this rant with a simple Pacific Internet fuck you!, but on the other hand, maybe I could be of assistance to them, pointing out where they failed, making suggestions as to how they can improve their processes and services… Nah, I’m over them…
Pacific Internet, fuck you!